Date: 11th December 2014 at 11:57am
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Samir Nasri’s brilliant performance in Italy has the hacks and learned pundits singing his praises…

Nasri, Le Petit Prince de Marseille has always been blessed with a supreme natural talent, but in recent years it had been somewhat sullied from time to time, by his own frank admission, together with a poor attitude.

Last season the 27 year old midfielder took a huge step forward in recognising his own psychological frailties and admitted that the world did not owe him a damn thing.

Having now been with City longer than he was with Arsenal and played more games for the English champions, Nasri transformed himself from being sullen, a tad on the sour side, so unfulfilled under Roberto Mancini’s leadership, into a bright, enterprising, self-critical team player – his resurgence has turned out to be one of Manuel Pellegrini’s best achievements in England.

Nasri’s style fits in nicely with The Engineer’s attacking philosophy and was the key man in City’s stunning Champions League victory in Rome.

At the age of 9, Marseille’s youth coaches weren’t sure whether the young Nasri was left or right footed, such was his versatility. Without doubt, entering the age when he will be coming into his playing prime, he has the capacity to be THE man in the City engine room. He has the ability to dictate games, as he did on Wednesday, by taking a hold of a tight match that can always be in danger of slipping away at the highest level.

At City such responsibility has not been required of him so ofetn, as the brilliant David Silva has been the brains for the team’s team across the last four seasons, whereas Yaya Toure has been its heartbeat.

The type of display Nasri put on in the defeat of Roma has been coming. Having taken the decision to undergo surgery early in the season, he came back to find Silva injured, and Toure struggling for form he took the reins against Swansea – and was absolutely fabulous.

Having won all the domestic honours in Manchester, the quest for European glory represents the final barrier for Nasri’s career now he has given up fighting his way back into the French national team whose hierarchy continue to judge him on his character from two seasons ago.

If he can continue to mastermind the City attack in the way he did against Roma, he could truly start to establish himself as one of Europe’s top players – he really does have that amount of ability, style and quality. Considering the enormity of the task City faced in Rome without a number of first choice players, it’s at times like that when you see what your available players are really made of. The goal he smashed in against Roma was sublime.

Sometimes you need pure football leadership, someone brave enough to get on the ball, use it well and try the unorthodox, at a time when lesser men go and hide. Nasri was that man last night. He was demanding the ball, popping up in dangerous areas, making light of tight marking and always seeking a chink of daylight in a defence reinforced by the knowledge that our talisman Sergio Aguero was not around.

Nasri dragged defenders around, forcing them to make decisions rather than sit in their shape, which I might add had been significantly talked up in the build-up. He continued to test Roma’s back four and prompt his team-mates into action, with the kind of passes that coax players into making the right runs…cue Zabba!

Throughout a side now brimming with confidence off the back of six wins in all competitions, other players are clicking into gear post World Cup hangover. Gael Clichy, another worryingly off-key performer last season where Aleks Kolarov was the preferred man of the moment, has also been seen to be recovering form.

In Italy, World Cup finalist Martin Demichellis stepped in, in place of the absent Kompany and was key to keeping the opposition away, marshalling superbly a high back line even though there were a couple of near misses, where the herculean Joe Hart was there to save us.

Nasri is back, and so are City!

 
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